Yes! parking cost is high in Colombo. Specially if you don’t want to park your vehicle under boiling hot sun and leave one of your biggest assets at the mercy of robbers. It’s high not because some people trying to rip off vehicle owners, but because the gap between supply and demand has driven up prices. Sunday Observer recently ran two articles on this topic (this and this). And they shed some light on this issue. How ever what took my eyes was the pathetic situation of hippocratic in the minds of our own people exposed through these two articles.
We all have at some point used all the sorts of car parks in the city. Most outdoor parks has little or no sense of security, (I have lost few parts of the vehicle by parking in those places and it has cost me lot more than what I could have saved by parking there) and bake everything inside the car if you park during the day. Then there is those indoor parks attached to main shopping malls in the city. They have better security (at least you feel that way) and better protection from elements. And for that there is a higher demand to park there and the prices are high. Also these are not public parks by definition. Those parks are setup by those companies for customers who are shopping in those malls. But we all take those for granted and happily use/misuse them. We all know where we prefer to park between those dusty hot outdoor parks and nice indoor parks.
Yes! outdoor parks should improve. Government or some other authority must enforce some sort of regulation on the facilities of the parks. But what worried me is, based on what is posed on Sunday Observer our people think that all parks must charge a nominal fee regardless of their facilities. And we think that those indoor parks are simply there to rip us off. Are we out of our minds? If there is anyone ripping us off, that is those outdoor parks that take our money to bake our cars. Also we have forgotten that those indoor parks are setup for specific set of customers and high prices are one of the ways of keeping people who misuse the park at bay. Imagine if the park at MC or Crescat charge only LKR 20 per hour. Everyone will park their vehicles all day long while they are at their work places. And original purpose of setting up those parks will be lost completely. Why can’t we as people recognize that those parks are there for a specific people. Are we that ignorant?.
I am not in the parking business and I have no reason to defend those private indoor parks. Other than they provide a service for the money paid unlike most outdoor places. But saying that they should operate like public parks and charge only a nominal fee is a daylight robbery and an insult to common sense. And also public bulling on private businesses. Because they are simply not public parks. They are specifically setup for their customers and vehicles are expected to be parked there only for a short period of time. And high fees is the only thing which can enforce that.
You also have to look at who are the people complaining about these parking fees. Those are the people who want to park their vehicle all day long in a safe place while they are working at their workplaces. Putting pressure on private park operators is not the solution for that. Every work place should do their level best to provide parking for their employees (It should be one of the key factor to look in to, when you select a location for a business), As the indoor parks currently operate in the city are not built for that purpose. Also Colombo city authority must take a lesson or two from people at Kandy city authority. Their solution of building a large car park at the city center has paid of really well. How ever in Colombo, you will need several such parks strategically placed in several places in the city.
Colombo city can at least tie up with those large outdoor park owners and setup multi-story car parks on those lands. And the profits can be be shared between city authority and land owner. That way land owner will make more money than now (increased capacity will increase revenue) while City make money too. This will not happen if you expect those private land owners to build those them-self. Because such a structure will cost a massive amount of money. When a private individual/company spend that money they need to get a pay back in a shorter time frame than a government institute. Therefore they will need to charge a higher fee to get a high margin and a short payback time. But when a city authority make that investment, it is an investment for the city itself, and tax money well spent.
What do you think?
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